In the recent attack that took place on the Temple Mount, much of the international media missed the most important part of the story. Here in Canada, the National Post headlined, “Three Palestinian gunmen kill two Israeli police near Jerusalem shrine”. Buried in the article is the sentence, “Police identified the assailants as Arab citizens of Israel”, and nowhere in the article does it mention that Hail Stawi and Kamil Shanan, the two slain police officers, were Druse citizens of Israel.
Non-Jewish Israelis killed non-Jewish Israelis because of the hatred of Jews. Even in the wacky world of the Middle East, it does not get more surreal than this. If this is not a wake-up call for Arabs, nothing will be.
Israeli Arab leaders condemned the attack, but additionally “condemned the subsequent closure of the mosque to prayers”. Also as reported in Haaretz, “a spokesman for the Jordanian government accused Israel of violating the status quo by barring Muslim worshippers from praying on the Mount”. Even though Israel’s handling of the situation was purely security driven and perfectly understandable, Arabs demonstrated yet again that for them any opportunity to engage in anti-Israel rhetoric is simply too tempting.
When will Arabs learn? When will Arabs understand that far from being their enemy, Israel is their best friend in the Middle East and the key to a better future?
As I wrote recently, Jews have consistently treated Arabs far better than Arabs have treated Jews, and that continues to be the case. But even if Arabs do not change their attitude towards Israel out of gratitude, they should do it out of self-interest.
Al Arabiya, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, published an article on the Indian Prime Minister’s recent visit to Israel. The article recognizes the reality that while the Arab world still refuses to accept the presence of a tiny Jewish state in their midst, that Jewish state is leaving them in the dust: “Arabs discovered that in recent years, Israel had achieved a series of victories without firing a bullet. States, armies and economies around the occupying state have eroded to its benefit. Waves of extremism in the Arab world have caused untold calamities, creating a long bullet-list of issues and conflicts in which the Palestinian cause is a mere one of many. This time Arabs did not feel envy alone, but sensed utter defeat for those who for failing to catch up with the developing world.”
Instead of insisting on the failed and inane strategy of fighting Israel, the Arab world should realize that working with Israel is the answer. There are signs that this may in fact be happening.
Neri Zilber wrote in the New York Times about a number of situations in which Israel and the Arab world are cooperating, and the author believes that this may not be mere coincidence. He wrote, “Taken as a whole, Israeli activities in Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, Egypt and the Gulf can no longer be viewed in isolation from one another. Rather, Israel is now involved in the Arab world’s military campaigns — against both Iran and its proxies, as well as against the Islamic State.”
Zilber added soberly, “It remains to be seen whether this is merely a temporary marriage of convenience against common foes or the start of an enduring strategic realignment.” Arabs who do not take this opportunity to build a strong and enduring relationship with Israel, Arabs who do not see the critical role that it can play in a better Middle East, are blind to the facts. To put it more bluntly, Arabs who do not embrace Israel wholeheartedly and unequivocally, Arabs who do not love Israel are fools.
As US President Donald Trump said in his major speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, “A hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the state of Israel”. I implore my fellow Arabs to grab this opportunity and to finally let the hatred go.
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